In which a scientist is mistaken for a giant fish 

Marine biologist Helen Scales was in the South China sea studying Napoleon wrasse, a rare and endangered coral reef giant, when a six-foot wrasse charged her, ready to mate.

This well-meaning, but mistaken wrasse is one of the many endangered creatures Helen researches in a part of our world that most of us hardly ever see — the one beneath the waves. At TEDxLSE, Helen shared stories of this watery world, reminding us why it needs protection:

Human actions are ruining the oceans like never before. And the only way we’re going to change that, I think, is if people know about and care for some of the things that live there — and what better place to start than to have your mind spin with stories of real sea monsters?

Hear more of her stories here »

(Above: Top: tetzl, Middle: Saspotato:, Bottom: ollographic)

The story of the sea turtle: TED-Ed animates this evolutionary miracle

Sea turtles. Is there anything cuter than them? If you ask me, the answer is definitely no. If you ask other TEDx staffers, the answer might be yes, but don’t trust them. Sea turtles are super cute. 

But more than just cute, sea turtles are extremely fascinating. They are contemporaries of the dinosaurs (making almost any aquarium Jurassic Park), evolutionary superstars (in this case, slow and steady really did win the race), and total troopers (baby turtles have to make it past seabirds, crabs, raccoons, and a host of other roadblocks in their mad dash to reach the sea — and the trouble doesn’t stop there).

Sea turtles are a legitimate miracle, according to marine biologist/TEDxOrlando speaker Scott Gass. With so many obstacles to face on the road from birth to adulthood, it’s a wonder that these swimming dinosaurs carry on.

But they do, and you can learn how in this wonderful animation from Scott and TED-Ed, in which you can see the only thing cuter than baby sea turtles — ANIMATED BABY SEA TURTLES!

(Photos: Luca5)

What do dolphins do for fun? They make underwater vortexes, of course.

Diver and dolphin lover Scott Gass was working at Sea World in Orlando, FL, when he noticed something interesting: One of the youngest dolphins, a female named Calypso, had discovered a new game. She had learned to create giant, malleable bubble rings (technically air-injected, torus-shaped vortexes) that she could push around, swim through, pop, and spin like a wheel.

This was an amazing feat, one that Scott and his colleagues call “walking on the moon rare” for dolphins, documented in only a handful of dolphin populations in the world. But for Gass, the most fascinating thing about the bubble rings was that Calypso wasn’t the only dolphin who started blowing bubble rings — adults from across the pod watched the youngster and joined in.

In a talk you just must watch,
Gass gives us the story behind this wonderful dolphin-bubble-creation, with mesmerizing footage of Sea World’s dolphins playing with their homemade bubble vortexes. (It’s super cute. Trust us.) He even provides some deeper meaning, taking a cue from his dolphins to remind us that you’re never too old to learn from the young. Here’s Gass at TEDxOrlando:

(Photos — Top: Simon Griegg (xrr); Middle: Scott Gass; Bottom: Colorado_Al)